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Multifunctional Nanomachinery for Enhancement of Bone Healing

An RNA–amorphous calcium phosphate nanomachine that induces extrafibrillar and intrafibrillar mineralization of collagen fibrils and regenerates new bone in a dynamic and programmable manner is developed. This multifunctional nanomachinery is comparable to the function of osteoblasts. The RNA–biomineral nanomachines that simulate physiological processes brings new opportunities and challenges to bone tissue engineering.The visionary idea that RNA adopts nonbiological roles in today's nanomaterial world has been nothing short of phenomenal. These RNA molecules have ample chemical functionality and self?assemble to form distinct nanostructures in response to external stimuli. They may be combined with inorganic materials to produce nanomachines that carry cargo to a target site in a controlled manner and respond dynamically to environmental changes. Comparable to biological cells, programmed RNA nanomachines have the potential to replicate bone healing in vitro. Here, an RNA–biomineral nanomachine is developed, which accomplishes intrafibrillar and extrafibrillar mineralization of collagen scaffolds to mimic bone formation in vitro. Molecular dynamics simulation indicates that noncovalent hydrogen bonding provides the energy source that initiates self?assembly of these nanomachines. Incorporation of the RNA–biomineral nanomachines into collagen scaffolds in vivo creates an osteoinductive microenvironment within a bone defect that is conducive to rapid biomineralization and osteogenesis. Addition of RNA?degrading enzymes into RNA–biomineral nanomachines further creates a stop signal that inhibits unwarranted bone formation in tissues. The potential of RNA in building functional nanostructures has been underestimated in the past. The concept of RNA–biomineral nanomachines participating in physiological processes may transform the nanoscopic world of life science.

Publication date: 03/03/2022

Advanced Materials


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.